Cross functional business processes are mandatory for process excellence (see video from my last blog post). Cross functional business processes are different functional areas of an organisation working to complete the same piece of work, goal or aim. For example the order fulfillment process, shown below.
The Sales Department generate & submit the order. It is then passed onto the Accounting Department to check the credit of the customer, who after approval generates the invoice to the customer. After credit approval the Manufacturing & Production Department know to assemble the product and ship to the customer.
This is a clear example of how a firm uses cross- functional business processes to improve efficiency and work in synchronization to get the order out.
All the functional areas link together and use the 4 major types of information systems- Transaction Processing Systems (TPS), Knowledge Work Systems (KWS), Decision Support Systems (DDS) and Executive Support Systems. For example the Sales and Marketing Department may use the executive support system to forecast a 5 year sales trend, while Finance may use it to forecast a 5 year budgeting plan. Sales and Marketing may then also use the transaction processing systems to track orders.
The diagram below illustrates the different levels of business within an organisation and how the functional areas make use of the systems.
This makes sense to most organisations as most organisations are organised according to function.
If you have not already, check out the Process Excellence video (from my last blog post- see references) showing the importance of cross functional business processes and keeping the customer the main objective rather than using the cheapest method.